IBM China workers strike over terms in $2.3 billion Lenovo deal

SHENZHEN Thu Mar 6, 2014 9:16am EST

Visitors walk past the IBM booth at the 9th China International Software Product & Information Service Expo in Nanjing, Jiangsu province September 6, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

Visitors walk past the IBM booth at the 9th China International Software Product & Information Service Expo in Nanjing, Jiangsu province September 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/China Daily

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SHENZHEN (Reuters) - More than 1,000 workers at an IBM factory in southern China have gone on strike against the terms of their transfer to Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd caused by the U.S. company's $2.3 billion sale of its low-end server business.

Several workers gather outside gate of the International Business Machines Corp factory in Shenzhen on Thursday said production remains suspended for a fourth straight day.

"So far, we've heard nothing from the management or the government in response to our demands," said Hou Hongbo, a 10- year worker at the factory. "The company's attitude so far is to ignore us, but the entire production remains shut down."

The workers want higher pay if they choose to transfer to Lenovo or higher severance packages if they choose to leave. Hou said they were determined to keep their action going.

"We will definitely keep striking tomorrow," he said.

The terms offered to workers at the International System Technology Company factory in Shenzhen are "comparable in aggregate to what they currently are receiving," IBM spokeswoman Florence Ma said in an e-mailed statement. If workers choose to leave, they will receive an "equitable severance package," Ma said.

"We are hoping employees will decide to remain with ISTC," Ma said.

Lenovo declined comment.

Workers at Chinese factories are increasingly turning to protests and factory shut-downs when they feel the terms of international takeovers are not good enough or labor conditions have worsened.

Hundreds of employees stopped work at a Nokia factory in Dongguan in November, complaining of changes following Nokia's sale of its mobile phone business to U.S. software giant Microsoft Corp.

Last August, 5,000 workers in eastern Shandong Province went on strike to protest Apollo Tires Ltd's proposed $2.5 billion acquisition of U.S.-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.

(Reporting by Venus Wu, Grace Li, James Pomfret, Donny Kwok and Clare Baldwin Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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Comments (6)
njglea wrote:
Good Job, Chinese workers! Yes, the only way to stop the insatiable Wall Street takeover greed, where they buy, sell, resell companies simply for exorbitant profit by the top 1% global financial elite, is to stop production all over the world. Perhaps it is time for China to nationalize all companies doing business there, along with every other country? Turn the companies into true employee-owned entities and put Wall Street and other predatory “markets” back in their place – supporting commerce, not robbing us blind.

Mar 06, 2014 8:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
jbeech wrote:
I’m sure it is distressing for the workers but if the pay remains about the same, then striking for higher wages because of a company sale does not seem correct. The two issues (the sale and a wage hike) are not related. Basically, the child does not dictate to the parent.

Mar 06, 2014 9:07am EST  --  Report as abuse
BlueOkie wrote:
Maybe IBM can bring those jobs back to the US

Mar 06, 2014 9:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
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